PINBACK: Protect! Embrace! Engulf!
I've been in Omaha for about 5 days now, and in that time I've been to three concerts of varying degrees of professionalism. It's always good to see my friend Sarah's band, THE SPRINGHILL MINE DISASTER (a Richard Brautigan ref. for those who might be curious... I myself wrote a song once with a Brautigan reference called "Spinning on the Bottom of a Top"), and if you ever get the chance, you should, too.
Last night I had the chance to finally see Pinback, a San Diego band who recently (okay, back in October of 2004) released their fantastic third album, SUMMER IN ABADDON on Touch & Go records. I'd been reading about Pinback for a while, and they've been gradually picking up steam/popularity after the 1999 release of their self-titled debut.
Listening to the band on record, you'll notice the songs are full of these intricate little bass, guitar and rhythym segments that, in my mind, could have been assembled with a computer program. It wasn't until I started hearing live tracks on various blogs that I realized that this was a fully formed band that was able to not only duplicate these songs in a live setting, but could also propel them even faster and more bouncy than on record.
The first Pinback song I really fell for was "Crutch". a droning little ditty with obscure lyrics like "Some sit down / Let the rest decide / Over what divided you." It has just the right mix of sadness and head-bobbing poppiness.
You may have heard one of the band's newer songs on television. "Afk" is currently being featured in commercials for the new Nintendo portable player. Apparently, the band's "Where to play?" lyric caught the ears of some pothead indie rocker working at Nintendo's ad agency. I'm glad, because I'm sure the sizeable check written to Pinback will be enough to help them get by on an indie band's salary for years to come. Plus, this song absolutely whips ass.
Last night, Pinback also played a charged up version of "Penelope", another favorite track of mine from the BLUE SCREEN LIFE LP. This song really showcases the dual vocals of Zach Smith and Rob Crow -- one sings the dreamier, airy vocals while the other sounds like he's singing through a vocoder. I found out last night that he's not treating his vocals; he actually sings like that.
The crowd favorite last night had to have been "Prog", a song which embodies its namesake with crazy time signatures and noodly guitar work. If I'm not mistaken, this was the set closer, and it really got the Omaha Hipster crowd hopping and acting out all of their hilariously well-rehearsed Britt Daniel dance moves.
With the show over, I returned to my apartment with my roommate and finished out the evening sharing a few beers and listening to music. As we relaxed, Pinback's "Trainer" came on my iTunes party shuffle. On the verge of passing out in my seat, these lines jumped out at me:
"Stick your arm inside the mirror,
Crawl back into bed.
Take a swim inside the mirror.
FOR MORE ON PINBACK:
Grab some free MP3's from their site.
The Pitchfork review of SUMMER IN ABADDON
Pinback at Touch and Go Records
Video for "AFK"